My essential advice for any mum-to-be.
I used to dream about falling pregnant the way I dreamed about my wedding day. The reality turned out to be very different.
Turns out there’s a lot to consider even before you start trying for a baby. Thankfully, I’m a quick learner.
Here are nine things I wish I knew before I fell pregnant.
1. You are not eating for two; you are eating for one and a bit.
I honestly believed that from the moment I fell pregnant I was obligated to eat as much as I possibly could. I ate through the nausea, I ate through the discomfort and I ate through the bloating. I gained so much weight that I burst out of all my maternity clothes, pinched my sciatic nerve in my right butt cheek, chafed between my thighs and broke a swing I sat on.
You are not eating for two. It’s okay to eat a little more because your body and baby need the nutrients to grow, and it’s normal to put on some weight, but moderation is key. You are really eating for one, and a baby that’s around the size of a piece of large fruit for most of your pregnancy.
Just as an FYI, you should know that this is an advertorial for Bupa.
2. You don’t need to buy everything.
I had three pregnancy and baby books I would read religiously several times a day. Each contained a list of the things I would need for the baby. I bought every single one of them, and used about a quarter of them. I wish I had spoken to other mothers before having my first child – I could’ve saved myself a very expensive shopping spree.
3. People are going to want to touch you; so let them know if you’re not comfortable with it.
I lost count of how many men touched my pregnant belly without permission. Every single woman I encountered asked first. I always ask first. The men would just grab it and I wanted to punch them in the face, but I thought at first it was my job to smile benevolently as they shared in the joy of the miracle of life.
Now I know better – if I was pregnant now, I would politely but firmly let people know that I’m not comfortable with them reaching out before I’ve said it’s okay.
4. You need to have pregnancy cover 12 months BEFORE baby is born.
Nobody wants to think about money when they are starting their family, but it is a reality. Not only did I have to check that my private health insurance covered me for pregnancy 12 months in advance, I also had to plan for my maternity leave and expenses associated with having a baby. It was worth it though because once I had that all sorted, I was free to relax and enjoy the rest of my pregnancy.
Bupa has created an interactive planning guide, called Bupa Beginnings, to help you figure all this out. It will help explain healthcare options for your pregnancy and you can compare costs for public vs private, different levels of health insurance cover and, if you have a budget in mind, you can even adjust your choices to fit. You will find all the info here.